Lucy Pearson, one of my favourite book bloggers, blogged for years as The Unlikely Bookworm and her blog featured a mix of travel, lifestyle and books. But recently she decided to focus more on all things bookish and relaunched her blog as The Literary Edit. Her new site is absolutely gorgeous, and with the new year being a time to reset and refresh, I caught up with Lucy to find out more about her decision to relaunch and what that process involved.
Prior to your rebrand, you’d been blogging as The Unlikely Bookworm for many years. What made you decide to change things up and relaunch your site as The Literary Edit? And how did you arrive at that decision—was it something you’d been considering for a while?
Funnily enough, prior to rebranding to The Literary Edit, I had considered going in more of a travel direction. I’ve spent much of the last two years travelling – both around Australia and internationally, and was definitely lured by the free holidays that travel bloggers get – free books are great but there’s definitely a limit to how much one person can read. I considered names such as The Roaming Reader and The Travelling Bookworm but both of those were taken which shelved any ideas of a rebrand.
It was only when I started doing The Travel Hack’s blogger course that I really honed in on my niche – I was definitely a reader that loved to travel, rather than a traveller that loved to read. One night the name The Literary Edit came to me and I immediately put the wheels in motion.
For those of us who haven’t done it before, can you share a little about what’s involved in a rebrand? I imagine there’s a significant amount of planning and work to be done before the changes are put into effect.
I’m a pretty impatient person so I think from coming up with the name to completion it took about three weeks in total – though I wasn’t working at the time and was able to dedicate a lot of time to the rebrand. I enlisted someone to help with the migration of my site (so anyone who googles or types in my old URL are redirected) and they also launched my new theme. I got my previous designer to design a new logo, got a new email address, checked which usernames were available on which social media platforms (and swiftly took them), and it also gave me a good excuse to tidy up the content I had on my blog and really hone in on the direction I wanted it to go in henceforth. One thing my great friend Krish also advised (which I had never thought of) was to keep my old Instagram name (theunlikelybookworm) as a separate account and use it to point people towards my new name.
I’ve heard of bloggers being hesitant to rebrand because they’re afraid of losing their old readers and effectively having to ‘start from scratch’. Was this something you were concerned about and did you have strategies in place to encourage your readers to follow you on your new blogging adventure? (I.e. how did you let them know The Unlikely Bookworm was evolving into The Literary Edit?)
I was definitely slightly hesitant to rebrand, especially as so many people (both in Australia and the UK) know my blog; it was almost like an alter ego or an extension to my personality so there were a few mixed emotions saying goodbye to it. I wrote a blog post informing my readers that change was afoot for The Unlikely Bookworm and did a mail out to lots of book publicists in the UK (I’ll be doing the same to book publicists in Oz when I’m back down under) informing them of my new name with a link to my website.
One of the (many, many) things I love about The Literary Edit is the design and overall aesthetic. It’s absolutely gorgeous. How did you settle on the ‘look’ for The Literary Edit and did you create all the design elements yourself?
I’d seen a couple of blogs I followed had used Blogzilla Studio themes for their sites, so I very quickly settled on one of their designs which has most of the elements in place. I then got a designer to do a few tweaks to tailor it perfectly to The Literary Edit and make is as user friendly as possible. While I still post personal posts, I didn’t want these to be a big part of the home page, so they’re categorized under journal rather than high up on the home page as they were on my previous design.
On your old blog you posted a mix of literary, travel and lifestyle posts. What made you decide to focus more specifically on books, bookshops and bookish travel when you relaunched as The Literary Edit?
As I mentioned above, doing The Travel Hack’s blogging course really made me focus on my niche, and made me realise that however much I love travel, books are my first and biggest love. By adding in bookshops and bookish travel it offered me additional content rather than just book reviews, and allowed me to add a travel element to the site, while keeping in with the literary theme.
I’m particularly intrigued by the concept of your literary city guides. What was the inspiration behind this new segment?
For me, whenever I go to a new town, city or country, one of the very first things I do is google the nearest bookshop, and love nothing better than finding local bookshops, whether in Greece, Paris, Byron Bay or Bali. I thought it would be a great idea to have one online hub where fellow bookworms could visit to find the best bookish bits wherever they are in the world.
As part of the relaunch, I notice that you’re also taking on contributors. What do you look for when considering pitches from potential contributors?
First and foremost, a passion for books. I’d never thought of taking on contributors before now but as I want to offer as many literary city guides and reviews of beautiful bookshops and bookish finds from all over the world, it made sense for me to enlist the help of the book loving community!
Finally, do you have any advice for those out there who might be thinking of giving their blog a new look for 2018?
Find a design that you love and be prepared to put a bit of elbow grease in – it was definitely more work than I had anticipated. Enlist the help of others if you can; as limited as my budget was, when it came to migrating the site across it was never something I considered doing myself as technology just isn’t my forte!
Thanks so much for joining me, Lucy!
Over to you
Have you ever considered rebranding your blog?
Do you have any tips for bloggers looking to freshen up their site?